Welcome to the webpage of the Project “Maqdala at 150” which aims at commemorating the 150 years of the fall of Maqdala and the death of Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. “Maqdala at 150” will be held in the month of April 2018, just 150 years after the epochal events that saw the end of Ethiopia’s experiment in modernization.

The fate of Maqdala in 1868 was one of the defining chapters in the history of modern Ethiopia and in the wider world it became an icon of African utopia and tragedy under colonialism. In order to celebrate this episode, to ponder about its causes, its consequences and also about a wide range of related issues in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the African continent a consortium of Ethiopian and foreign institutions, including Ethiopian state and regional authorities, universities, local bureaus and NGOs has organized “Maqdala at 150”, an international event with a multidimensional focus. One of the main activities of the project is the organization of a large conference. In addition, preparations are underway to organize a cultural-artistic festival that shall include cultural exhibitions as well as poetry, music and drama performances. The project will also incude the organization of tourist routes led by expert historians and tourist guides to historical sites related to Tewodros II’s life, his allies and rivals.

The meaning of Maqdala

Ethiopian history offers many moments that can be highlighted as watershed developments for the whole African continent. One such period is the reign of Tewodros II (r. 1855-1868). His period has justly attracted the attention of several scholars and academicians, from Sven Rubenson to Donald Crummey, Taddese Tamrat and Shiferaw Bekele. In Ethiopian society too, the deeds and accomplishments of the period has reverberated across generations since Tewodros II’s death in 1868. In particular the manner he died has been a source of many fabled stories and a spur of national sentiments. The vision the emperor had for his country, the ‘modernizing’ attempts he tried to inject into the existing socio-economic and political fabric and the unwavering belief he had on the potential of his country to be one of the great nations are some of the points Ethiopians cite when they recall this period.

የመቅደላ መቶ ሀምሳኛ ዓመት በዓል